Monday, April 8, 2013

Book Review: Wherever You Go by Heather Davis

Pages: 320
Genre: YA Realistic Fiction/Fantasy
Pub. Date: November 14, 2011
Source: Personal Copy
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Seventeen-year-old Holly Mullen has felt lost and lonely ever since her boyfriend, Rob, died in a tragic accident. The fact that she has to spend most of her free time caring for her little sister and Alzheimer’s-stricken grandfather doesn’t help. But Holly has no idea that as she goes about her days, Rob’s ghost is watching over her. He isn’t happy when he sees his best friend, Jason, reach out to help Holly with her grandfather—but as a ghost, he can do nothing to stop it. Is his best friend really falling for his girlfriend?  As Holly wonders whether to open her heart to Jason, the past comes back to haunt her. Her grandfather claims to be communicating with the ghost of Rob. Could the messages he has for Holly be real? And if so, how can the loved ones Rob left behind help his tortured soul make it to the other side? Told from the perspectives of Holly, Jason, and Rob,Wherever You Gois is a poignant story about making peace with the past, opening your heart to love, and finding the courage to move forward into the light."
Holly Mullen isn't your average teenager.  Her mom works two jobs to support Holly and her sister, which means she is never around. It's up to Holly to take care of her sister and cook many of the meals for the family. She has a lot of responsibility for a seventeen year old.  To make matters worse, Holly's grandfather comes to live with them in their small apartment; an extra adult around would normally be a good thing, but that is not the case since he suffers from Alzheimer's Disease.  Not too long ago, Holly was dating Rob who died tragically in a car accident and Holly was also in the car, but survived.  She is trying to deal with this huge absence in her life, but she is finding it to be a challenge when her grandfather starts communicating with who he claims is Rob.  Holly is trying to move on, take care of everyone and even start socializing again.  Jason, Rob's best friend, is starting to show an interest in her, but she isn't sure what to do or if she has the courage to move on.  Wherever You Go by Heather Davis is an emotional read that deals with serious topics, like death, Alzheimer's, love, family, depression, and moving on after life altering events.  

I felt for Holly right off the bat in Wherever You Go.  She has so much responsibility and she seems to do it all, including doing well in school without complaining.  Her mom pushes the bulk of the responsibilities on Holly including taking care of her grandfather who can be a handful.  On top of that, she is still getting over the fact that her boyfriend tragically died and some of his friends even blame her for it, which makes things challenging.  Rob's friend, Jason, is acting differently towards her, but she isn't sure why.  Even if he does like her, she feels weird about it, because he was Rob's good friend.  Plus, where was he after the accident? The love connection between Holly and Jason slowly blossoms. At first I wasn't sure if I could trust him, but he proves himself. He really wants to help Holly and her grandfather in Wherever You Go.

One of the most interesting characters is Rob. He's a ghost and is able to communicate with Holly's grandfather. He seeks out her grandfather for advice, friendship, and simply to talk, because he walks around watching his family and friends go about their daily lives and isn't able to communicate with anyone other than him. He witnesses Jason trying to get close with his girlfriend and his family mourning his death; it's all very hard to watch day in and day out.  He spends a lot of time trying to figure out how to move on.

One aspect of Wherever You Go that I felt was a bit rusty was the various points of view.  There's Holly, Jason, and Rob, but Rob's section is read in second person, which was a bit jarring.  I liked to read all three points of view, especially Rob's, but the way it was written was a bit strange.

I think Wherever You Go deals with important issues that young adult literature doesn't often touch upon, one being Alzheimer's as well as struggling families. I'm sure there are many teenagers out there that have as much responsibility as adults and this novel really explores that concept.  I wish more young adult novels dealt with real-life situations for poor families and not just upper middle class/upper class teenagers.  The way Alzheimer's was portrayed felt so real and Davis does a fantastic job illustrating how tough it is for a family to deal with such a sad disease.  I applaud Davis for writing a book dealing with such important topics.

6 comments:

  1. This definitely sounds like a heavy read Christina, but I like Holly already. People never fail to shock me with how awful they can be sometimes - blaming her for her boyfriend's death when I'm sure she's dealing with enough unwarranted blame from herself. The different POVs do sound a tad frustrating, but other than that I think I would enjoy this book!

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    1. I know, right?! The point of views took awhile to get used to, but overall, I thought it was a good read. Thanks for visiting, Jenny!

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  2. I really love books that are about moving on after a death, it reminds me a tiny bit of The Lovely Bones (which is one of my favourite books). It's weird to hear that Rob's perspective is told from second person narrative, I feel like that would take away from the story a bit. It sounds really emotional though, and one that needs to be read at the right time. Great review!

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    1. It is similar to The Lovely Bones- which I also really enjoyed! Thanks for visiting, Andrea!

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  3. This is the first I've heard of this book. It's seems pretty intense. I always have a hard time reading books written in second person. Anyway, thanks for the review. :)

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    1. It has its moments and can be very intense from an emotional standpoint....the second person view point is only in Rob's section thankfully. Thanks for visiting, Quinn!

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